Pull Me Under

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Pull Me Under"
Single by Dream Theater
from the album Images and Words
Released August 29, 1992
Format CD, cassette, vinyl
Recorded 1991
Genre Progressive metal
Length 8:11 (Album version)
4:48 (Single version)
Label Atco
Writer(s) Lyrics - Kevin Moore
Music - Dream Theater
Producer(s) David Prater
Dream Theater singles chronology
"Pull Me Under"
"Take the Time"
Images and Words track listing
"Pull Me Under"
"Another Day"

"Pull Me Under" is the first track and first single from Dream Theater's 1992 album Images and Words. It is also featured on the Live at the Marquee CD, Once in a LIVEtime CD, Live at Budokan CD and DVD and the Images and Words: Live in Tokyo VHS and DVD. It was very well received, and received extensive MTV rotation.[1] It is widely considered to be Dream Theater's signature song.


The song originally had the working title "Oliver's Twist". Although the band did enjoy its success with MTV and radio play during the release and thereafter, the band has continued to keep its distance from the mainstream scene; although, it is still performed in world tours. In a radio interview, Mike Portnoy stated that "...it was just an 8 and a half minute song, and it was just a fluke for MTV and radio play to happen."


A distinctive feature of the song is its lack of a conventional ending. "Pull Me Under" simply stops at 8 minutes and 11 seconds. A later Dream Theater song, "Raw Dog", ends abruptly, similar to "Pull Me Under". This abrupt ending was corrected in their Greatest Hit compilation. Asked about the abrupt ending while at a drum clinic in Atlanta in 1999, Mike Portnoy explained "We had all this tension, and it just kept building and building, and we had no idea where to take it, you know? So we decided to just pull the plug on it, like The Beatles did with She's So Heavy."

Fans consider "On the Backs of Angels", a song from the 2011 album A Dramatic Turn of Events to be structurally similar to "Pull Me Under", though it concludes with a more conventional ending.[citation needed]


Kevin Moore's lyrics refer to Shakespeare's Hamlet, and are told from Prince Hamlet's point of view.[2] They allude heavily to the play and echo Hamlet's desire to give in to his urge to gain revenge for his father at the cost of his own sanity. Over the final moments of the song (from time 7'49'' until the end) James LaBrie can be heard singing a direct quote from Hamlet:

"Oh that this too, too solid flesh would melt."

Single release[edit]

The song peaked at #10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[3] It was also released as a promotional single. Because it was the only Dream Theater single to achieve such success, "Pull Me Under" is the "hit" referred to in the Dream Theater compilation Dream Theater's Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs).

A shortened version of the song (clocking at 4:48) also featured a music video which alternated between clips of the band performing and an obscure storyline about someone, who is often described by band members and fans as a "wolfman." The band members were reportedly unhappy with the storyline, saying that it doesn't have anything to do with the song's subject matter. Lead singer James LaBrie can be seen wearing a Napalm Death shirt in the video. According to drummer Mike Portnoy that shirt actually got the band connected with Napalm Death.

Live performances[edit]

During live performances of "Pull Me Under", James LaBrie used to sometimes incorporate an F#5 scream or two into the vocals, as can be heard in the recording on Live at the Marquee.


"Pull Me Under" is a playable master track in Guitar Hero World Tour as the ending credits song for all 5 careers; this version however does not feature the truncated final bar of the song by having it end at "solid flesh." It is also featured as a cover in Rock Revolution. It is also used as the intro to the Rick Emerson Show.

The beginning of the song can occasionally be heard playing on the loudspeakers at the AT&T Center during San Antonio Spurs games.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[4] 10

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Pull Me Under" (single edit) Kevin Moore Dream Theater 5:54
2. "Pull Me Under" (album version)     8:11



  1. ^ Richter, Allan (August 22, 2004). "A Long Island Sound by Way of Topographic Oceans". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  2. ^ Thaler, Englebert (2008). Teaching English Literature. UTB. p. 163. ISBN 978-3-8252-2997-9. 
  3. ^ "Dream Theater Causing 'Chaos' With New Album". billboard.com. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  4. ^ "Images and Words: Charts and Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 

External links[edit]